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Fears as homeless families from London could be moved to Margate

By Paul Francis

Homeless person living on street (file picture)

Homeless person living on street (file picture)

A London council is considering offering homeless families places to live in Margate.

The news has triggered concerns that the area, which already has a large number of looked after children, could face further pressure and increased demand for social services.

The London borough of Lambeth said it was exploring offering about 30 two-bedroomed homes and flats in Margate on a temporary basis to those that needed somewhere to live.

The council insisted the plan was not about saving money by using cheaper accommodation outside the capital and was unrelated to the government’s introduction of a £400 cap on housing benefits.

A Lambeth council spokesman said: “Like many councils, we have a shortage of temporary accommodation and would welcome any funding support from central government to help us provide homes for those in need. The government is cutting Lambeth’s funding by 45% which is putting our service under great pressure.”

“One of the options we have for meeting the challenge of helping those in need of temporary accommodation is to offer them the option of staying in homes outside of Lambeth, including a small number of properties in Kent. It is important to be clear this is being done on a voluntary basis. If a resident declines the offer to move to Kent, they would not be forced to do so.”

But the policy has alarmed social services chiefs. Cllr Jenny Whittle (Con), Kent County Council’s cabinet member for children’s care, said: “We are very concerned. It is very difficult to predict the pressures but it is inevitable there will be some pressures on children’s services as well as others.”

Thanet council was asked for a comment but had not yet responded.

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